The Government-owned organisation National Highways will invest in Energy Storage Systems (giant battery packs) to deliver rapid charging infrastructure on motorways where the grid can’t meet demand.
The announcement comes following COP26, with the investment aiming to close the gap in rapid charger availability.
An Energy Storage System (ESS) is a giant battery pack that can charge hundreds of electric vehicles before depleting. National Highways plans to install them at motorway service stations to enable rapid charging support in areas where grid infrastructure isn’t sufficient.
Energy Storage Systems are essentially giant battery packs that are charged at off-peak times by the grid. They then deliver charging to drivers at peak times, reducing strain on the grid and enabling rapid charge speeds.
The plan is to install around 20 Energy Storage Systems across some of the busiest stretches of motorway in England, unlocking rapid charging speeds in areas that would otherwise not have them.
An £11m investment will pay for the initial rollout, with National Highways expected to increase its investment in the future. The first ESS should be installed in 2022, with more rollouts in 2023 and 2024.
It isn’t clear who will manufacture or supply the Energy Storage Systems, but we do know the devices will be smart to control power output and input. A smart ESS has software that coordinates energy production and knows when to keep energy to provide reserves or release it to the grid.